Camera choices for photos and videos on a motorcycle trip

In 2013, 2014 and 2015, I brought three different cameras out on my motorcycle trips for photos and videos.

Setting off from Toronto in 2013, I went to the Cape Spear, N. L., with a Canon EOS M, a mirrorless camera with a DSLR-sized sensor. In 2014, I went to Victoria with a Canon EOS 60D, a full-sized DSLR. Lastly, in 2015, I went to do the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia and North Carolina with an entry-level GoPro that cost about $150.

In reviewing the photos and videos of these three cameras, I saw noticeable differences in quality, portability and flexibility. I have developed a preference, although I still believe horses for courses.

Canon EOS M with 22mm lens

Canon EOS M mirrorless camera with a 22mm lens.

PROS:

  • Compact and DSLR-quality photos and videos
  • Great lens

CONS:

  • Needs to be mounted for stable videos

The video below is my 50cc Honda Jazz, also known as Metropolitan or CHF50, scaling the hill. I recorded this video with the camera slung on my neck.

Photo taken on the south side of the St. Lawrence River near Deschaillons, Que.

The great thing about bringing a mirrorless camera with a wide-aperture lens (f/2.0) is that you can get decent background blur and you can also take high quality shots because the EOS M has a DSLR-sized sensor.

Using a wide-aperture lens also meant that I didn’t have to bring a flash with me, and the pancake format of the lens meant that I had a very compact, high-quality camera.

Videos also turned out good. However, because I did not have a mount for it, I just slung the camera on my neck. This meant that the camera swung as I manoeuvred the motorcycle, although it also allowed me to point the camera in the direction I wanted because the camera was not mounted.

Using a 22mm lens also meant the swings and vibrations are magnified. In the 2014 trip, I did almost the exact same thing but had better results with a wide-angle lens.

Canon EOS 60D with a 10-22mm lens

EOS 60D with a kit lens. The 10-22mm I used was shorter.

PROS:

  • Swivel screen
  • High quality videos and photos
  • Wide-angle lens means less fumbling with the camera and less shaky videos

CONS:

  • Heavy, bulky, expensive

 

This combination has all the benefits of the EOS M, except it’s a lot bulkier. Having a wide-angle lens also reduces the effect of swings and vibrations, as does having a hefty camera.

This camera also features a swivel screen, which helps you see what you’re shooting, although with a 10mm wide-angle lens, you can just point the camera in a general direction and you’ll likely get what you want in the frame. Very useful when you don’t want to fumble with the camera while riding your motorcycle.

This is probably the most expensive setup among the three and it also will take up some space in your kit. The charger is bulky as is the camera body and lens.

However, if I only had one choice among the three, I’d take this because it has produced the best results.

GoPro Hero (entry level)

This GoPro Hero shoots HD videos and 5 megapixel photos.

PROS:

  • Cheap, durable, expendable
  • Easily mounted with velcro
  • Fisheye wide-angle lens

CONS:

  • Low quality photos and videos


I am not sure if GoPro still makes this entry-level model, but I bought it just to try it. The results turned out good, although the video and photo quality really does not exceed a cell phone’s camera.

Lacking a screen also meant that I wouldn’t know when something is blocking the screen, such as water droplets, or what I’m shooting at. Luckily, it has a very-wide-angle lens that’s even wider than the 10-22mm lens.

The best part of the GoPro is that it is compact and durable. At $150, it’s also the most expendable. You could also mount it with velcro, although I would also secure it with some other means because hard shocks can dislodge it.

A photo taken with the GoPro mounted on the Aprilia, at the northern tip of the Skyline Drive near Front Royal, Va.

While I have used the 60D in rain, I wouldn’t take it out of it were pouring. On the other hand, I’ll use the GoPro in any weather.